On March 25 the East Tennessee State University women’s tennis team went on the road to face Samford. The Bucs came into the match on a four-match winning streak with a 7-4 record.
The Bucs were 2-0 in Southern Conference play before the match. Bucs head coach Ricardo Rojas had many expectations in the days leading up to the game.
“Our goal is to win and compete to give us a chance to win the conference,” said Rojas. “We need everyone to do their part, everyone expects to win.”
The Bucs won the match 7-0 to give them their eighth win of the season and third in conference play over Samford.
In singles play, the Bucs had six players compete with all six winning.
Junior Ioanna Markesini (Athens, Greece) won her singles match by winning two out of three sets after dropping the first, defeating Samford’s Ellie Gerlach.
Sophomore Marina Espana (Castellar Del Valles, Spain) dominated her first set winning 6-0 and closing out her second set with a 6-4 victory over Elsa Pool.
Junior Alory Pereira (Sao Paulo, Brazil) had to battle in her two, ultimately winning both 7-6 and 7-5 and defeating Arianna Beltrame.
Yi Chi Ma dropped her first set, losing 3-6, but was able to win her next two sets, winning 6-3 on both over Annika Hepp.
Junior Melissa Esguerra (Derrimutt, Australia) won both her sets, winning 6-4 and 7-5 over Grace Jennings.
Junior Jayde Viccars (Glen Waverley, Australia) won her first set 6-2, followed by losing her second set 3-6. Viccars bounced back winning the third set 6-2 over Nadine de Villiers.
In doubles play, the Bucs won two out of three matches. Ioanna Markesini and Marina Espana won their doubles match 6-4 over Savannah Wood and Ellie Gerlach. Alory Pereira and Yi Chi Ma battled but lost 5-7 against Annika Hepp and Elsa Pool. Jayde Viccars and Melissa Esguerra won their doubles match 7-6 defeating Arianna Beltrame and Grace Jennings.
With the win, the Bucs increase their winning streak to five.
“We want to stay with the process having an identity of playing hard and believing in each other,” said Rojas. “We can improve on our doubles play it needs to be more consistent.”
Coach Rojas wants his team to close matches better. He feels they allow teams back in matches or give teams hope. With these improvements in mind, hopefully the Bucs can keep the winning streak going.